Looking for an easy drawing and painting lesson with a high success rate? Try this one. Even in California, most kids equate January with cold weather. I talk about how snowflakes flutter down from the sky and land in the folds of trees, forming clumps of snow. In first grade, we stick to the lovely aspects of snow. I don’t mention how hard it is to dig out from under five feet of compacted snow. To prove that snow is indeed lovely, I have lots of beautiful calendar pictures of hand.
- 1 sheet of 12″ x 18″ blue construction paper
- 1 black oil pastel and 1 brown oil pastel
- shared tray of watered down (just a bit) of white tempera paint and brushes
- small container of red tempera paint (shared)
Drawing the tree. I discuss how the trunk is thick on the bottom and as the tree grows and gets higher, the branches get small and thinner. I encourage the kids to think of the tree as an upside down “Y”. I demonstrate how to add branches with the oil pastel, concentrating on making the branches narrower as they grow away from the trunk.
Next, have the student’s create “bark” by using either the black or brown oil pastel.
Adding the snow. With a small paintbrush, have the students paint big swathes of white paint across the bottom of the paper, going right over the tree trunk. The kids can go up as high as they want, making sure that at least half of the tree is exposed. Next, have the student’s paint small clumps of “snow” in the pockets of the tree branches.
Adding a red highlight. I ask the kids to paint something red on their picture. It could be a scarf for a snowman, a red fox, a cardinal, whatever they want. I resist the urge to show them a sample, because this tends to sway them into what to paint. Have the kids use their imaginations as much as possible. Although, if Ashley draws a fox, you can bet the girl next to her will as well. That’s just the way it goes!
Now for the FUN part…adding snowflakes. My technique for splatter painting is to use a medium sized brush, dipped in white paint. Then, holding it about 2″ above the painting, tap with a finger. Many art teachers use toothbrushes, but I find the spray is too small and can be difficult for little fingers to manage.
Just a big dollop of white paint and a good tap should yield enough snowflakes to satisfy first graders.